2010 Labour Party (UK) Shadow Cabinet election

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The Commons members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) elected 19 members of the Shadow Cabinet from among their number in 2010.[1][2] This follows the Labour Party's defeat in the 2010 general election, after which the party formed the Official Opposition in the United Kingdom.

A separate election for Opposition Chief Whip, an ex officio member of the Shadow Cabinet, happened at the same time. Rosie Winterton was unopposed in that election, and she would serve for the remainder of the Parliament. The results of the Shadow Cabinet election were announced on 7 October 2010, hours after the balloting closed.

The PLP voted to abolish Shadow Cabinet elections at a meeting on 5 July 2011,[3] and the National Executive Committee and the Party Conference followed suit.[4] As a result, the 2010 Shadow Cabinet election was the last.


Shadow Cabinet elections typically happen near the beginning of a session, but were delayed until after the leadership election,[5] which ended with the announcement of Ed Miliband as winner on 25 September. Nominations were open from 26 to 29 September, and voting occurred from 4 to 7 October.[6][7] The leader may choose to assign Shadow Cabinet portfolios to non-members, who are considered to "attend" Shadow Cabinet.

Rules changes[edit]

On 8 September 2010, the PLP voted to continue electing the Shadow Cabinet and made various changes to the rules for such elections:

  • Shadow Cabinet elections will be held every two years, rather than every year.[8]
  • The Chief Whip will once again be separately elected, reversing a change made before the 1995 Shadow Cabinet election that allowed the Leader of the Labour Party to hand out the position as with any other Shadow Cabinet portfolio. Now, the Chief Whip will be elected by the PLP for the duration of a Parliament.[8]
  • For a PLP member's ballot to be valid, it must contain votes for at least six women and six men,[6] up from four.
  • The Shadow Cabinet will no longer be the Parliamentary Committee when the party is in opposition. Instead, the latter will be a backbench group just as when the party is in government.[9][10]

Ex officio members[edit]

The following are also members of the Shadow Cabinet by virtue of the office listed:


Shortly after the 2010 general election, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling announced that he would not be a candidate in the elections, thus ending more than 20 years of frontbench service.[5] In August, both Shadow Justice Secretary Jack Straw and Shadow Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth announced their retirements from the frontbench. On 29 September, the day nominations closed, Shadow Foreign Secretary David Miliband announced he would step down from the Shadow Cabinet, having been defeated for the Labour leadership days earlier by his brother, Ed.[11]

Forty-nine Labour MPs stood for election, and the results were as follows:[12]

Retained in the Shadow Cabinet
Joined the Shadow Cabinet
Voted out of the Shadow Cabinet
Subsequent Portfolio
1 Yvette Cooper Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford 232 Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
2 John Healey[note 1] Wentworth and Dearne 192 Shadow Secretary of State for Health
3 Ed Balls Morley and Outwood 179 Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department
4† Andy Burnham Leigh 165 Shadow Secretary of State for Education; Election Co-ordinator
4† Angela Eagle Wallasey 165 Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
6 Alan Johnson Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle 163 Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
7† Douglas Alexander Paisley and Renfrewshire South 160 Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
7† Jim Murphy East Renfrewshire 160 Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
9 Tessa Jowell Dulwich and West Norwood 152 Shadow Minister for the Olympics
10 Caroline Flint Don Valley 139 Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
11 John Denham Southampton Itchen 129 Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
12† Hilary Benn Leeds Central 128 Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
12† Sadiq Khan[note 2] Tooting 128 Shadow Secretary of State for Justice; Shadow Lord Chancellor
14 Mary Creagh Wakefield 119 Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
15 Ann McKechin Glasgow North 117 Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
16 Maria Eagle Garston and Halewood 107 Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
17 Meg Hillier Hackney South and Shoreditch 106 Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
18 Ivan Lewis Bury South 104 Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
19 Liam Byrne Birmingham Hodge Hill 100 Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
20 Emily Thornberry Islington South and Finsbury 99
21 Peter Hain[note 3] Neath 97 Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
22 Fiona Mactaggart Slough 88
23 Barbara Keeley Worsley and Eccles South 87
24 Vernon Coaker Gedling 85
25 Pat McFadden Wolverhampton South East 84
26† Helen Goodman Bishop Auckland 80
26† David Lammy Tottenham 80
28 Stephen Timms East Ham 79
29 Chris Bryant Rhondda 77
30 Shaun Woodward[note 3] St Helens South and Whiston 72 Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
31 Gareth Thomas Harrow West 71
32 Kevan Jones North Durham 68
33 Kevin Brennan Cardiff West 64
34 Roberta Blackman-Woods City of Durham 63
35 Diane Abbott Hackney North and Stoke Newington 59
36 Stephen Twigg Liverpool West Derby 55
37 Tom Harris Glasgow South 54
38 Ben Bradshaw Exeter 53
39 Iain Wright Hartlepool 43
40 Barry Gardiner Brent North 41
41 David Hanson Delyn 38
42 Ian Lucas Wrexham 34
43 Wayne David Caerphilly 30
44 Huw Irranca-Davies Ogmore 28
45 Chris Leslie Nottingham East 26
46 Robert Flello Stoke-on-Trent South 15
47 Mike Gapes Ilford South 12
48 Alun Michael Cardiff South and Penarth 11
49 Eric Joyce Falkirk 10
† Multiple candidates tied for position.
  1. ^ It is unclear from the sources (see note 2, below) whether Healey was a full Shadow Cabinet member before the election or merely in attendance, in which case he would be listed as joining rather than having been retained in the Shadow Cabinet.
  2. ^ Khan was listed on the Labour Party's and Parliament's frontbench lists as attending Shadow Cabinet rather than as a full member. The Shadow Cabinet list at Labour's website, produced earlier than the others, makes no distinction between full members and attendees.
  3. ^ a b Peter Hain and Shaun Woodward were appointed to the Shadow Cabinet by Ed Miliband to serve as the Shadow Welsh and Northern Irish Secretaries, respectively.

Chief Whip election[edit]

At the same time they elect members of the Shadow Cabinet, the Commons PLP will elect the Opposition Chief Whip.[8] The incumbent Chief Whip, Nick Brown, announced on 29 September that he would not be a candidate, writing in a letter to the new leader, Ed Miliband, that though he had intended to stand for election to the post, he was acceding to Miliband's request that he stand down.[13][14] According to the BBC, after the announcement, Jim Fitzpatrick, who had also intended to stand for the post, withdrew his candidacy, and Miliband asked Rosie Winterton to stand,[14] and she did so unopposed.[15]


  1. ^ "Get ready for the return of shadow cabinet elections". The Spectator. 20 February 2009. Archived from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  2. ^ "Shadow Cabinet elections–they haven't gone away you know". London Evening Standard. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  3. ^ Neild, Barry (6 July 2011). "Labour MPs vote to abolish shadow cabinet elections". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  4. ^ "John Prescott calls for Labour shadow cabinet reshuffle". BBC News. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  5. ^ a b Rose, Gareth (18 May 2010). "Alistair Darling to quit as Labour front-bencher". The Scotsman. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Labour MPs to elect shadow cabinet". BBC News. 8 September 2010.
  7. ^ "Shadow Cabinet bun fight begins". Labour Uncut. 14 September 2010.
  8. ^ a b c "Gender equality plan for shadow cabinet diluted by Labour MPs". Guardian. 8 September 2010.
  9. ^ The Quiet Campaign for Chief Whip
  10. ^ Timetable for elections to the PLP Parliamentary Committee
  11. ^ "David Miliband says he won't join brother Ed's team". BBC News. 29 September 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  12. ^ Paul Waugh (7 October 2010). "Shad Cab rankings – exclusive voting figures". Evening Standard. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  13. ^ "Labour Chief Whip Nick Brown Agrees to Stand Aside". The Guardian. 29 September 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010. As you know I intended to stand for election as chief whip. During our meeting earlier today you indicated that you wished me not to do so. The chief whip must have the full confidence of the party leader. I fully respect your wishes and will no longer be standing for the position
  14. ^ a b "Ed Miliband asks chief whip Nick Brown to step aside". BBC News. 29 September 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  15. ^ "49 MPs in race for frontbench post". UK Press Association. 29 September 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010.